If you put sandbags or other heavy objects in the bed of your truck, make sure they're SECURE!

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jun 01, 2002

Dear Tom and Ray:

I want to comment on a column you recently wrote about putting sandbags in the back of a pickup truck. Where I live in upstate New York, I've seen sandbags added to the beds of pickup trucks in winter -- as well as cast iron, concrete blocks and other creative alternatives. Please remind your faithful followers that any such weights should be secured to the bed of the truck -- and by something more substantial than a bungee cord. In the event of an accident or other sudden stop, that thin piece of glass behind your head will not prevent the old anvil from joining you in the cab. The gun rack might slow it down, but not by much. -- Rick

TOM: You're absolutely right, Rick. We should have mentioned that any cargo in the bed of a pickup truck should be securely tied down. We didn't, and you were one of about 50 people who wrote to remind us (not all of them did it as politely as you did, Rick!).

RAY: Whether you use sandbags or mothers-in-law, make sure they're secured to the bed with enough rope, cable or chain to keep them securely in place if you hit something -- and that's not very easy. An even better option would be to install one of those permanent tool/cargo boxes that bolt to the bed, and then put the additional weight in there.

TOM: And if you think we're just being overly cautious, here's another reader's letter that might help convince you otherwise.

Dear Tom and Ray:

I about swallowed my eyebrows when I read your advice about using sandbags to increase the traction of a pickup truck. I have been an insurance agent for more than 24 years, and I know for a fact that an unsecured object in the bed can turn a normal pickup truck that might get stuck in snow or mud into a truck of death or disability. In an accident, the occupants of the cab could be decapitated, or at least pelted by high-speed projectiles. In 1979, one of my clients had an accident at under 30 mph and had a loose tool box in the back of the bed. The box ripped through the cab like a knife through butter, catching the driver in the back of the head -- to the tune of 106 stitches. The driver of the truck was lucky to survive. Personally, I would rather have a stuck truck, Chuck. -- William

RAY: OK! Uncle! We'll remember to tell people to secure their loose cargo next time! Thanks to everyone who wrote.

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